It was two in the morning when Calum’s phone rang. He fumbled around till he found it. “Hello?” He answered without looking. “Calum, I need your help.” “Jay? It is fucking two in the morning. I am going back to sleep call me in the morning.” He was about to hang up when Jay spoke again. “It is a matter of life and death. You owe me a favor and now I am cashing it in.”
Calum sat up straight in his bed. “This sounds urgent. What is wrong are you in trouble?” Jay sighed. “No, I am not in trouble and I can’t say much over the phone just be ready for me. I will be at your house in an hour.” He hung up without saying anything else.
Calum went into the kitchen and made himself some coffee and waited for his cousin Jay. Jay arrived forty-five minutes later. “Jay, what is going on? Why are you here?” “I will explain everything. Are you alone here?” “Yes, of course, why?” Jay sighed. “I need you to protect an eye witness by letting her stay here.”
“You’re kidding. What did she witness and why can’t she go into witness protection?” “I am not kidding. She witnessed a murder among other things. The reason why she is not in witness protection is that she can identify dirty cops.”
Calum placed his hands over his face and then combed through his hair. “Calum please you are my only option. It will just be for a month or two. Look I hate to do this to you but I helped you with the adopting agency and now I need your help.”
“You bastard! How dare you use that against me. If this goes wrong you better hope and prays that they don’t take Daniella away from me.” “I am sorry but nothing is going to go wrong. When are they bringing her?”
“I am fetching her in two days. Where is the girl that is going to stay here?” He said looking around. “She is still in the car. I just want to warn you she doesn’t talk and is very jumpy. One more thing don’t stair to long at her.” Jay told Calum before going and getting her.
Penelope saw asleep in the car when Jay woke her up. “We are here.” She nodded her head and climbed out of the car. Jay took her bag while she walked behind him. “His name is Calum and you can trust him.” She nodded in reply.
When they entered his house, Calum saw a hooded figure behind Jay. Her curly cappuccino brown hair flowed out of the hood. She kept her gaze down. “Hi, I am Calum.” “Penelope.” She whispered back.
“The guest bedroom is upstairs on the second left door. There is an on-suite bathroom. If you want.” She shook her head. She looked around the house. She saw the couch in the living room. She started playing with her fingers and looking between the couch and Calum.
Calum saw how nervous she was. “You can sit there if you want to.” She nodded a thank you before sitting on the couch. “Calum can I talk to you outside?” Jay asked. “Sure.” Calum replies before following Jay outside.
“Penelope is still traumatized about what happened to her. She doesn’t like to be touched or sleep on a bed so she will probably sleep on the couch don’t carry her to her room.” “What happened to her?” “I can’t tell you but it was terrible.”
Jay left after saying goodbye. Calum went back inside. “Penelope, I am going to sleep if you want something to eat the fridge is fully stocked and if you need anything else my bedroom is down the hall the first door right downstairs. Goodnight.” He said before going to sleep.
Calum woke up at seven am. He went on with his morning routines before going into his art studio. He played rock music while starting to paint. He was so focused of what he was doing that he didn’t hear Penelope screaming.
Penelope was sleeping on the couch. “Wake up you worthless piece of shit.” Mother screamed at me before slapping me. She always slapped me. I got up and started making breakfast for her afterward I started cleaning the house. “I want you on your best behavior we have a guest coming and he will be here in a half-hour.”
That means I have to make sure the house is spotless and I have to disappear. The man arrived later and I was surprised when my mother called me. “You see just as we discussed.” The man nodded. “She is a real beauty and will bring in lots of cash. How much?” I look between my mother and the man. “Five thousand.” The man gave a wicked grin.
“Deal.” He opened his briefcase and handed her the money. He also pulled out a bottle and a dirty old rag. “Mom, what is going on? Who is this man?” “Shut up you piece of trash. You are his problem now.” She said before walking away. Fear starts eating me. I tried to run but the man grabbed me and placed the rag in front of my nose and mouth. I tried holding my breath as long as I could but the man punched my stomached knocking my wind out. I took a big breath and then everything became blurry. “You are my property now, princess.” The man said to me before I was surrounded by darkness.
Allena and her husband Brent came into Calum’s house. The first thing the noticed and heard was a screaming Penelope. Brent tried waking her up by gently shaking her but it only made things worse. Calum was still oblivious to her screaming.
It was only when Allena barged into the door he stopped. “Calum, the girl in the living room is fracking out and having a full-blown panic attack.” It took a moment for him to realize who she was talking about. “Ahh, shit.” He said before rushing out the room. He found Brent trying to calm her down.
“Brent doesn’t touch her. She will only freak out more.” Brent let go of her and Calum sat down in front of her. “Allena go make her some tea.” She left and Calum placed out his hand in front of him. “Penelope. Penelope, breath. You are safe here no one is going to hurt you. Touch my hands if you can hear me.”
Slowly she reached out and touched his hands. “Good. Are you feeling calmer now?” She nodded her head. “That is good I have asked my sister to make you some tea. It will help you calm down.”
Allena gave Calum the teacup. “You are safe my sister’s husband didn’t know that he can not touch you, okay?” She nodded her head and took the cup from him. Calum nodded his head towards his sister to follow him into the kitchen.
“Who is she and what is she doing here?” “It is a long story one that I don’t want to go in right now.” “Okay. I understand sort off just answer me is she one of your broken wings projects?” “My what?” Calum asked bemused. “You know you always help someone who is like a bird with a broken wing.” “Okay, yeah Penelope is something like that.”
“Well, it is good to see someone else besides you in this big-.” Brent stopped talking. Calum gave him a ’what’ look. “Uhm thank you for the tea. It really helped.” Penelope whispered as she placed down the cup. Her hood was off but she kept her gaze down.
“You are welcome.” She turned around to leave when Allena spoke. “I was about to make breakfast for these animals would you like to help or have some. Penelope bit her lip as she looked up at them. Her brows furrowed.
The first thing Calum notice is her sapphire blue eyes. He then saw two scars on her face. A small light one on her head and a pink one trailing from her left eye to her chin trough her lips. He realized he was staring and looked away.
She shook her head and slowly walk away. She took her bag and went up to her room. She is not ready to face people. She has to take it one step at a time.
“Uhm I know it is not our business but what happened to her?” Brent asked holding Allena who looked like she was about to cry. “She was in a bad relationship and almost died in a car crash.” “That poor soul.” Allena said as a few tears slip down her face. “Oh, these pregnancy hormones.” She said frustrated.
Calum’s face split into a smile. “Congratulations sis. I am going to be an uncle.” He said excitedly. “Thank you.” “When are you getting Daniella?” “I am getting her tomorrow.” “That is fantastic. How is she?”
“She is great and healthy. They were afraid that she won’t live long.” “Why do you say that?” “I’ll tell you but please do not tell mother and father about it or about Penelope. I don’t need them meddling into my business.” “You know I am on your side.”
He nodded and told them Daniella’s story. They left after having brunch. Calum was about to go back into his art studio when he heard a thud upstairs. He went upstairs into Penelope’s room.
“Are you okay I heard a thump.” He stopped talking when he saw Penelope trying to hide something. “What do go got there?” She shook her head. “Penelope I am going to ask you one more time what do you got there?” She didn’t answer but tried running to the door.
’I should have known she was an addict of some kind. I am a fucking doctor and I mean look at her.’ He thought to himself before catching her. She didn’t even make it close to the door. He grabbed her by the waist. “Oh no. You aren’t going anywhere.”
She struggled in his grip. He threw her on the bed and pinned her down. “Now I want you to listen very carefully. I am picking up my daughter tomorrow from the adopting agency and I will not have some pathetic addict keep her from me. Now tell me what the fuck you are hiding?” She came up and bit his arm before running away.
She was running down the stair when her foot slipped and she fell. She screamed as her body made contact with the floor. The apple and banana felled out where she hid it. He bent down and picked up the fruit. “You were hiding fruit?” She nodded her head.
Calum let out a long frustrated sigh. “You don’t have to hide or steal food. I have more than enough food. Okay?” She nodded her head and tried to get up but she screamed out in pain.
Calum slowly bent down towards her. “I am going to help you up and then I am going to help you with your arm. Don’t worry I know what I am doing. I am a doctor.” He slowly helped her up. He saw that she was bleeding.
‘Fuck!’ He cursed to himself. He led her to the bathroom. “I am going to cut open your shirt. She nodded and sat frozen as he cut open her shirt. Calum looked at her and the crunched down in front of her. “What happened to you?”